Essential checks

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In this section:


Identity and Right to Work Checks

Key Elements

Before employing an applicant an employer must check their right to work in the UK.

Check thoroughly that all necessary paperwork is correct and up to date. Employers can be fined up to £20,000 per employee, even if the employee misleads them, without the right to be employed in the UK.

Employers should be consistent in their checking and not only check those who they assume may not be eligible because of their name, race, accent or other personal characteristics.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

Home office- right to work checks employers guide

also links to:

Quick answer tool to check if someone can work in the UK

Checking Documentation (Home Office)

Employment checks (Scottish Government)

Identify verification and entitlement to work in UK (Home Office)


Further Considerations

Ensure identity checks are clear and unambiguous to confirm that the individual presenting on their first day of employment is the same person that was interviewed.

For more about eligibility to work in the UK and an employer’s obligations, go to:

That guidance will help you to find out:

  • what a right to work check is
  • why you need to do right to work checks
  • whose documents you should check
  • how to carry out checks
  • when to carry out initial checks, follow-up checks and what happens under TUPE
  • what documents are acceptable

Case Scenarios



PVG/Disclosure Checks

Key Elements

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 introduced a membership scheme to improve disclosure arrangements for people who work with vulnerable groups. This includes maintaining a list of people disqualified from working with children and a separate list of people disqualified from working with protected adults.

It is an offence for an employer to permit someone who is barred from the relevant workforce to undertake regulated work with children and/or protected adults. An employer would only be able to establish if someone is not barred by ensuring the relevant person is a scheme member. This should be carried out using the agreed procedure and in accordance with appropriate legislation ( currently Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007, Part V of the Police Act 1997)

Links to further guidance and practice examples

Protecting vulnerable groups

PVG Act Guidance

PVG Scheme information for employers

Safer Recruitment guidance 2016

Practice example 1 Application check list 1

Practice example 2 Application checklist 2

Practice example 3 Background checks policy

Practice example 4 Criminal records risk assessment

Practice example 5 PVG Risk assessment record


Further Considerations

The Care Inspectorate expects care services to periodically re-check the suitability of care service staff as a matter of good practice.

The Care Inspectorate can make recommendations where we identify that a practice may lead to poor outcomes for people, but does not prescribe timescales for frequency of periodic checking. The Care Inspectorate itself has adopted a three yearly periodic checking cycle for its own staff.


Volunteers working in care services should be treated in the same way as paid staff and any volunteers within a care service without a PVG scheme record or a relevant Disclosure Scotland certificate and should ideally have no direct service user contact and should not in any circumstances work unsupervised.

National care home contract

Providers who have contracts with local authorities using the national care home contract for care homes for older people should also refer to section A.9 - Staffing and Volunteers of their contract to ensure that they comply with its terms and conditions.


Case Scenarios

Disclosure checks – case scenario



Qualification checks

Key Elements

It is reasonable for an employer to ask the applicant for proof of qualifications required for the post. The applicant should be asked to bring evidence of qualifications to the interview.

If you are uncertain about the validity of a document provided you can check with the awarding body or registering body.

The applicant should be informed that these checks will take place and copies of relevant documents will be held on their file. 


Links to further guidance and practice examples



Further Considerations

Always ask to see originals. Check the personal details are an exact match to the details on the application form and proof of identity.

If the qualification was undertaken in another country and is in another language, this should be translated to ensure it is equivalent to the minimum essential requirements for the post.

For group awards such an SVQ award you may want to ask for the module breakdown sheet in support of the certificate.


Case Scenarios



Key Elements

Check with the appropriate regulatory body: e.g. Scottish Social Services Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council and any other appropriate registers to confirm that the applicant is registered as declared. This can be done on the registration body website.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

MySSSC for employers

Responsibility of registered workers

SSSC Settlement agreements

SSSC Registration

SSSC – search the register

Nursing and Midwifery Council Register

General Teaching Council Register

Allied health professionals register


Further Considerations

Newly qualified social workers must achieve registration within six months of taking up employment in this role. This six month period is only applicable to their first role as a social worker. Thereafter, social workers must be registered with the SSSC prior to undertaking the duties of the role of a social worker.

Social Workers in Scotland cannot carry out statutory duties or use the title of social worker unless they are registered with the SSSC.


Case Scenarios



Personnel Records Check

Key Elements

Assure yourself that the person you recruit has not already been subject to any disciplinary action as a member of your own staff previously.  Check your organisation personnel records.  

Links to further guidance and practice examples



Further Considerations


Case Scenarios



Key Elements

All requests for references should seek objective verifiable information as far as possible and not only subjective opinion. The use of reference proformas can help achieve that.

A copy of the job description and/or person specification for the post for which the person is applying should be included with all requests, and every request should ask about the referee's relationship with the applicant, e.g. did they have a working relationship and if so, what was it; how long has the referee known the applicant, and in what capacity.

Satisfy yourself that the reference from the current or most recent employer is from an appropriately senior manager and it is not a reference from a former peer operating at the same grade.

Employers should have clear policies about what level of staff can draft and sign off references on behalf of the employer.

Use the reference to specifically ask about the issues of safety (previous disciplinary issues, dismissals, demotions) and any competencies which may be difficult to address though a selection process (e.g. team working; tenacity; adherence to regulatory codes of practice). Your references should definitely include a check with a previous employer(s).

You should seek a minimum of two appropriate and relevant references, one of which should be from the current or most recent employer (if they have been previously employed). If this is not possible you should be satisfied there is a good reason for this and record why in the personnel file.

It is acceptable to receive references by email, even where there is no e signature. It is your responsibility to ensure the authenticity of the referee and to give the Care Inspectorate access to these references upon request.

All references, paper or email, must be stored securely.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

ACAS: References for employment guidance

ICO Subject Access

ICO disclosure of information under TUPE

SSSC Codes of Practice

Subject access and employment references

SSSC settlement agreements

Disclosure of employee information under TUPE

Practice example 1 Character reference

Practice example 2 Employer reference

Practice example 3 Reference form

Practice example 4 Reference request letter

Practice example 5 References

Practice example 6 References policy


Further Considerations

There is no legal obligation to provide references but social service employers are expected to comply with their code of practice. In particular code 1.3: seeking and providing accurate and appropriate references to share information relevant to a person’s suitability to work in social service posts.

It is good practice to make sure the referee is aware that:

  • they have a responsibility to ensure that the reference is accurate, dependable and does not contain any material misstatement or omission;
  • relevant factual content of the reference may be discussed with the applicant

Follow up telephone calls are helpful to discuss and verify in more detail reference information provided.

You should find out whether the referee is satisfied that the person has the ability and is suitable to undertake the post in question.

You should find out whether the referee is satisfied that the applicant is suitable to work with vulnerable people, and, if not, what are the specific details of the concerns.

Remind the referee that:

  • they have a responsibility to ensure that the reference is accurate, dependable and does not contain any material misstatement or omission;
  • relevant factual content of the reference may be discussed with the applicant.

The Care Inspectorate recognises there may circumstances where this may be difficult such as school leavers or staff returning to work following a lengthy absence from the workplace. In these circumstances the Care Inspectorate expect to be able to see evidence of a proportionate and responsible risk based response from the provider which may include;

  • values based interview
  • evidence of higher level of supervision
  • “sign off” of employee competency after a period of induction and training
  • character reference from a professional person
  • other verification of what the individual has been recently doing

Settlement agreements

When there is a duty to refer a worker to the SSSC or another regulatory body you should do so even if a compromise agreement has been entered into with a former worker.  The regulatory body does not need to know the details of any financial settlement made, but will need to know the reasons aboud why the referral has been made.  When drafting a compromise agreement which terminates employment, you should make it clear to the worker that any confidentiality clause does not apply to information being passed to the individual’s regulatory body.

Case Scenarios

References case scenario 1

References case scenario 2

Health Check

Key Elements

For most posts, it is not necessary for applicants’ health to be checked prior to offer of employment but once an employer has offered an applicant a post, whether unconditionally or conditionally, it is permitted to ask appropriate health-related questions to determine whether any reasonable adjustments to enable the employee to carry out their duties require to be made.

If it is necessary to ask health-related questions before making an offer, you can do so only in the following circumstances:

  • to determine whether an applicant can carry out a function essential to the post
  • to take positive action to assist disabled people
  • to monitor, without revealing the applicant’s identity, whether they are disabled
  • to check whether an applicant has a specific disability where not having that disability is a genuine occupational requirement of the post.

The four limited circumstances under the Equality Act 2010 apply to all stages of recruitment before an offer. This includes application forms, health questionnaires, interviews and any other assessment and selection methods.


Links to further guidance and practice examples


ACAS guide, Equality and discrimination

Health declaration form

Further Considerations


Case Scenarios


Contract of Employment

Key Elements

Conditions and contract of employment.

This is the basis of your future relationship with your new employee and need to set out the responsibilities that each party has.

This should include details such as:

  • post title
  • brief description of what they are employed to do
  • place of employment
  • pay and intervals at which remuneration is to be paid
  • annual leave entitlement
  • working hours
  • any sick pay scheme
  • pension scheme
  • notice required for termination of employment or end date if fixed term contract
  • any probationary period
  • any continuous service
  • where the disciplinary/grievance procedures may be located
  • maternity and paternity leave
  • flexible work conditions

Links to further guidance and practice examples

ACAS: Employment contracts

SSSC/CI joint statement - registration regulations.

Practice example 1 Responsibilities of registered workers

Practice example 2 Sample contract wording

Practice example 3 Written statement of employment

Further Considerations

In addition consider inclusion of the following:

  • the employee’s duty to declare charges and convictions to you and the relevant registering body.
  • Requirement for the employee to register with SSSC within 6 months.
  • Requirement of the right to work in the UK and evidence to confirm this

For roles that require individuals to register with the SSSC, you should include in your contract a requirement about when the individual should submit their application for registration to ensure is it received by the SSSC timeously to be processed in time to meet the six month deadline.


Case Scenarios

Registration case scenario


Risk Assessments

Key Elements

Safer recruitment checks may highlight information which requires further scrutiny and consideration, for example criminal convictions or restrictions on an individual registration status.

You should have an established risk assessment process and procedure in place to determine whether the applicant is suitable for the post.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

NHS Policy On The Use Of Disclosures, Rehabilitation Of Offenders And Protection From Working With Vulnerable Groups

Practice example 1 Risk assessment record of meeting

Practice example 2 Risk assessment tool


Further Considerations

Where criminal conviction information is provided on the PVG scheme record or disclosure certificate it is important to risk assess this information following a conversation with, or by gathering information from, the applicant. This should be assessed on an individual basis with specific reference to the tasks and responsibilities of the job. This will assist in determining whether the applicant is suitable for the post.

Further information regarding any restriction on an individual’s registration or any on-going investigation by an individual’s regulatory body should be clarified and verified directly with the relevant regulatory body.

Your risk assessment process should consider these points:

  • what further information is required or should be considered?
  • how will this information be recorded and assessed?
  • who participates in the process and who makes the final decision?
  • how are risk management actions communicated confidentially to those who need to ensure they are in place?
  • how will the decision be recorded?

Case Scenarios


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